Before we initiate conversations with those around us, especially those in authority, we generally have a purpose for approaching them, something specific we desire to communicate to them. We've considered how we are going to organize our words so that we convey our thoughts effectively and efficiently. Rarely do we go before them without first thinking about what we are going to say. Why should it be any different with our Heavenly Father, the Ultimate Authority?
I have found that keeping a prayer journal or even jotting down those I desire to pray for has helped me to pray more sincerely and effectively.
Here's a peek into how I have organized my prayer journal:
Adoration - Praise God for He is great and greatly to be praised (Psalm 94:6) Gratitude - Giving thanks for the many blessings God has showered upon me and for answered prayers (Ephesians 5:20) Requests - Letting my requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6)
Those who are Spiritually Sick - those who have left the straight and narrow and are following after their own desires
Those who are Physically Sick
Those who need Spiritual Strength to help them overcome struggles they are facing
The Local Church I am a part of - that we will continue to grow in knowledge and love of the Truth and become closer to one another
Here is an acrostic that would be helpful in guiding a more specific personal prayer in which you are beseeching God to help you overcome the wiles of the Devil.
Below is an acrostic I have used with children in Bible Classes I have taught. This acrostic helps them to focus on Jesus/God first, then others and themselves last. Using this provides another opportunity for me to reinforce the importance Jesus should have in our lives and that we should consider others before ourselves.
May we all spend quality time with our Heavenly Father in Prayer as we journey toward our eternal goal of being forever in His presence.
Oh, the bitter pain and sorrow That a time could ever be, When I proudly said to Jesus, “All of self, and none of Thee.” All of self, and none of Thee, All of self, and none of Thee, When I proudly said to Jesus, “All of self, and none of Thee.”
Yet He found me; I beheld Him Bleeding on th’ accursed tree, And my wistful heart said faintly, “Some of self, and some of Thee.” Some of self, and some of Thee, Some of self, and some of Thee, And my wistful heart said faintly, “Some of self, and some of Thee.”
Day by day His tender mercy, Healing, helping, full and free, Brought me lower while I whispered, “Less of self, and more of Thee.” Less of self, and more of Thee, Less of self, and more or Thee, Brought me lower while I whispered, “Less of self, and more of Thee.”
Higher than the highest heaven, Deeper than the deepest sea, Lord, Thy love at last has conquered: “None of self, and all of Thee.” None of self, and all of Thee, None of self, and all of Thee, Lord, Thy love at last has conquered: “None of self, and all of Thee.”
All of us can find our current state described by one of these stanzas. Perhaps we are in the first line, we're denying God, and living solely to please ourselves. Maybe we've started to kind of believe in God and have made a few small changes to our lives...but aren't ready to give up those things we really enjoy. Or the case may be that we've been studying His word for a while now and really see the need to repent, but haven't had the courage to do so. Hopefully, we're in the last stanza. We've given our lives to God, are studying His word daily so that we may continually grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3:18) and have determined to live our lives in such a way that others may come to know Him.
If you find yourself to be somewhere in the first three stanzas, I pray that you read and consider the following words. Christ tells us exactly what we must do if we want to follow Him. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23) This is not something we do every-now-and-then, when it's easy and doesn't cause us to suffer or be inconvenienced. Putting Christ first means butting ourselves last...EVERY SINGLE DAY!
We must no longer seek to please ourselves, or other men, but to please our Lord and Master. (1 Thessalonians 4:1) We no longer desire our will, but the will of our Father who is in Heaven. Christ is our perfect example in that He, knowing the pain and separation He would have to endure, suffered the cross, that the will of His Father would be done. (Matthew 26:42, Hebrews 12:1-3) If we fully devote ourselves to Christ, seek His will above our own, and strive every day to please Him to the best of our ability we will see the blessings shower down! (Matthew 5:3-12; 6:25, 26; Romans 8:28)
Let us all strive to live our lives in such a way that we can truly sing "None of self, and all of Thee."
Okay, so I have no idea if this is going to work, but I'm going to give it a go! Please let me know if you are able to print the image, and how it prints. I work on a Mac, so I'm not sure what it will look like for those of you with PCs.
Ecclesiastes 9:9 NKJV Printables
Right click. Save As. Open Image. Print. Enjoy.
Should print nicely on 8.5" x 11" paper and fit in 8" x 10" frame. That is my goal anyway.
THINKING ABOUT RELIGION IS NOT EXACTLY THE SAME THING AS THINKING ABOUT GOD. The subject of religion often ends up being as much about ourselves and “our relationship” to God as about God Himself. We find ourselves pondering our attitude, our obedience, our feelings, our needs, our difficulties. At some point, however, should we not take time out and think about God Himself? Surely we must. We must contemplate His nature, His attributes, His will. We must meditate on our beloved God, allowing Him to be the sole object of our thought.
It is an interesting aspect of our religious life that we often spend so much time in polemics that we have little time left over to grow strong in the truth after we’ve defended it. C. S. Lewis, who was no small apologist himself, once said, “A man can’t always be defending the truth; there must be a time to feed on it.” It’s not that debates about religion are wrong. Given the truth-is-anything-you-want-it-to-be temper of our times, we need more debate, rather than less (Jude 3,4). But the truth is not to be defended merely because we enjoy the clash of ideas in the intellectual arena. The point of the whole enterprise is to clear away mistaken ideas about God — SO THAT GOD CAN BE TRUTHFULLY THOUGHT OF AND ADORED FOR WHAT HE IS! If we never get around to actually meditating on God, then we’re not much better off than those Paul spoke of who “knew God,” but failed to “glorify Him as God” (Romans 1:21).
There is a passage in Malachi which seems to indicate that God has a special place in His heart for those who love to think of Him: “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name” (Malachi 3:16). We greatly benefit when we think about God. But the greatest good of all is that our minds are lifted out of our little concerns and caught up in the wonder of Someone who existed long before we ever had the need to think of Him.
“There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon).
On a recent trip to my parents I acquired a large stack of emptied, washed square ice cream buckets. I knew I could use them to store something, somewhere. Free storage solutions are always a treat!
However, I did not want it to be obvious to others that I had employed ice cream buckets as part of my laundry room storage. So, I decided to disguise them with some scrapbook paper and Martha Stewart Dry Erase Labels from Staples. I already had Scotch Super 77 Multipurpose Spray Adhesive and paper that matched my bathroom colors. I decided to only use 4 of the ice cream buckets, so I could save the others to use elsewhere.
Here's what I started with:
- 4 empty and washed out square ice cream buckets
- Scotch Super 77 Multi-purpose Spray Adhesive
- 2 sheets of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper
- paper cutter
- 1 package Martha Stewart Dry Erase Labels (not shown)
I measured the printing on the front of the ice cream buckets, and cut my paper so that it would cover the printing. I was able to get 4 covering pieces from the 2 sheets.
Next, I removed the red handle from the ice cream bucket.
I then sprayed the surface of the bucket with spray adhesive and carefully placed the paper over the printing. I smoothed the paper starting in the center to reduce air bubbles.
I decided to use 2 of the green floral and 2 of the blue dot pieces to cover my 4 buckets.
As I was preparing to adhere the dry erase labels, I realized they would cover up too much of the pretty paper. So, I cut them in half!
Ephesians 4:29, 31-32 reads "Let no corrupt word proceed our of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may bring grace to the hearers....Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Before we allow words to "proceed out of our mouth" we need to take time to measure them.
Aspects of speech we should carefully measure:
Is what I'm about to say "good for necessary edification?" (vs 29)
Will my words "bring grace to the hearers?" (vs 29)
Is what I am about to say kind and tender? (vs 32)
Is there ANY bitterness, wrath, or anger behind my words? (vs 31)
Am I speaking "evil" of someone? (vs 31)
What are my intentions behind these words? (vs 31)
If the answer to 1-3 is "Yes" and the answer to 4-6 is "No" then your words "measure-up" and it's probably okay to let them flow off your tongue. However, if this is not the case, you should refrain from speaking. "Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit." (Psalm 34:13)
An easy way to remember how to measure your words:
T - is it true?
H - is it helpful?
I - is it inspiring?
N - is it necessary?
K - is it kind?
Consider these verses as you measure your words:
Psalm 37:30 - "The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, And his tongue talks of justice."
Psalm 139:4 - "For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether."
Proverbs 10:20 - "The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; The heart of the wicked is worth little."
Proverbs 10:31 - "The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, But the perverse tongue will be cut out."
Proverbs 15:2 - "The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness."
Proverbs 21:23 - "Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles."
Proverbs 28:23 - "He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward Than he who flatters with the tongue."
James 1:19, 20 - "So then,my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God."
James 1:26 - "If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless."
James 3:4-6 - "Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell."